Teaching Students About Dwight Clark


Educating students about notable figures in sports history, such as Dwight Clark, can be an interesting and engaging way to teach them about perseverance, hard work, and the importance of teamwork. Dwight Clark was a legendary NFL player whose career spanned nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He is best known for “The Catch,” one of the most memorable and iconic moments in NFL history. In this article, we will explore how to incorporate Dwight Clark’s life and career into your lesson plans and teach students about his impact on both the field of professional football and beyond.

Early Life and College Career

Begin by introducing students to Dwight Clark’s background and early life. Discuss his upbringing in Kinston, North Carolina, and his journey to college athletics at Clemson University. Explain how he started as a wide receiver in college, showcasing his talent and dedication despite not initially receiving a scholarship.

Highlighting the importance of academics alongside sports, emphasize that Clark was not only a great athlete but also an excellent student. He earned his degree in Business Administration while excelling on the football field.

The NFL Career

Dive into Dwight Clark’s professional career with the San Francisco 49ers. Discuss how he was drafted by legendary coach Bill Walsh in 1979 as a tenth-round pick. Talk about his growth in the league, especially after teaming up with quarterback Joe Montana.

“The Catch”

No lesson about Dwight Clark would be complete without discussing “The Catch.” Show students footage of this iconic moment from the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys. Illustrate how this game-winning touchdown helped propel the 49ers to their first-ever Super Bowl victory.

Explain that “The Catch” is an excellent example of determination, hard work, and collaboration—a perfect example of how critical teamwork is on and off the field.

Post-NFL Career and Legacy

After retiring from the NFL, Dwight Clark pursued a career in management, serving as the General Manager for the 49ers and later, as the Director of Football Operations for the Cleveland Browns. Discuss with students how athletes can leverage their sports knowledge and expertise to find fulfilling careers after retiring from professional play.

Sadly, Dwight Clark passed away in 2018 due to ALS. Use this opportunity to discuss his courageous battle with the disease and introduce students to ALS awareness and fundraising campaigns, illustrating how communities can come together to support causes close to their hearts.


Incorporating Dwight Clark’s story into your lessons can captivate students’ attention while teaching essential life lessons about perseverance, teamwork, and leadership. As an iconic figure in NFL history, Dwight Clark serves as an excellent role model for today’s youth- inspiring them to strive for greatness even in the face of adversity.

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